Apple’s Web of Tax Shelters Saved It Billions, Panel Finds (NYT)
Thanks to what lawmakers called “gimmicks” and “schemes,” Apple was able to largely sidestep taxes on tens of billions of dollars it earned outside the United States in recent years. Last year, international operations accounted for 61 percent of Apple’s total revenue. ... “There is a technical term economists like to use for behavior like this,” said Edward Kleinbard, a law professor at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and a former staff director at the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation. “Unbelievable chutzpah.”
JPMorgan investors on edge over vote on Dimon; what if they win? (Reuters)
Investors say that while Dimon, 57, may need more oversight after the bank posted $6.2 billion in losses from failed derivative trades last year, they do not want him to quit. Among big bank CEOs, Dimon ranks first for stock returns and has been praised for leading the bank through the financial crisis with no quarterly losses and a strong balance sheet. If Dimon were to leave, the bank's shares could fall as much as 10 percent and erase about $20 billion of market value, according to Mike Mayo, a bank analyst with brokerage CLSA. JPMorgan also has no ready replacement for Dimon, Mayo wrote in a research note, adding that the two lieutenants best positioned to succeed him - Matt Zames, 42, and Mike Cavanagh, 47 - seem to be about three years short of being ready for the job.
SAC Capital Aims to Stem Withdrawal Requests (DealBook)
“I’m very comfortable and confident having my money with him,” said Ed Butowsky, managing partner of Chapwood Investments in Dallas, a firm that invests client money in SAC. “All I know is that the returns are coming in nice, and my clients are happy.”
Funds Get Active Over Director Pay (WSJ)
Current pay structures don't give directors enough of a stake in making sure the company does well, and boards need to be more creative about tying their compensation to performance, said John Wakeman, a vice president and portfolio manager at mutual-fund giant T. Rowe Price Group Inc. "If bad people are going to be on these boards, we've got to stop it," said Mr. Wakeman. "We owe it to our fund holders."
Buffett Jets Chief Says U.S. Leads Private-Flight Rebound (Bloomberg)
The U.S. is leading a recovery in demand for private flights while Europe remains weighed down by economic weakness, the head of billionaire Warren Buffett’s jet-management company said. “The U.S. from our perspective is coming back and doing relatively well,” Jordan Hansell, chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s NetJets, said by phone yesterday from Geneva, where he is attending the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition. “Europe has remained difficult.”
Poor li’l rich kids: Posh schools scold parents who send nannies (NYP)
Wealthy New Yorkers are shunning their parental duties — choosing instead to send nannies to their children’s private schools to take part in everything from “safety patrol” to accompanying the kids on their entrance interviews. ... “Now the schools are getting angry — and other parents are getting angry. They don’t want to work the school bake sale with someone’s paid employee,” Uhry said. ... But one Upper East Side mom whose daughter attends The Birch Wathen Lenox School sniffed that she pays the school $40,000 a year — and can’t be bothered with such menial duties. “These schools are exorbitantly expensive, they hit you up for school fees, donations, and then they want your time?” she huffed. “I have three kids at three different schools. If I can send my nanny, I’m happy to do it.”
Former Horace Mann admissions director Dana Haddad said schools now accept nannies at admissions interviews because kids tend to perform better in front of them. “When I was a director of admissions and children would act up, I would tell parents, ‘Don’t worry, send them back with the nanny,’ ” said Haddad.
Europe's Recession Sparks Grass-Roots Political Push (WSJ)
The backlash has taken many forms. A group called Record Your City Council Meeting makes video recordings of public meetings and posts them online, risking fines where such reporting is banned. Activists secured more than 1.4 million signatures for a relaxation of Spain's strict home-foreclosure laws, prompting Parliament to reconsider them. "People are becoming aware that they need to participate in institutions to make them more democratic," said Mario Cuellar, a member of the video-recording group. "We need to reclaim politics from the chorizos," using a slang term for thieves.
Thousands of French Households Taxed Over 100% (CNBC)
More than 8,000 French households' tax bills topped 100 percent of their income in 2012, according to a French newspaper report. ... The paper said this was due to a one-off levy imposed on the 2011 incomes of households with assets of more than 1.3 million euros ($1.67 million). The surcharge was introduced by socialist President Francois Hollande in an attempt to offset the cost of a rebate scheme and taxation cap introduced by former President Nikolas Sarkozy, the paper added.
Qatar snaps up stakes in key lenders (FT)
Qatar is launching another multi-billion dollar push into the banking sector, buying fresh stakes in Russia’s VTB and Germany’s Deutsche Bank. The Qatar Investment Authority, the principal fund responsible for allocating the gas-rich emirate’s vast wealth, is poised this week to invest up to $1bn as part of a $3.2bn capital raising by VTB, Russia’s second-biggest bank, according to people close to the transaction.
Blackstone Leads Latest Chinese Privatization Bid
A fund run by the Blackstone Group is leading a $662.3 million bid for a technology outsourcing firm based in China, the latest example of a modest boom among buyout shops backing the privatization of Chinese companies listed in the United States. A consortium backed by a private equity fund of Blackstone, the U.S. investment firm, and including the Chinese company’s management said Monday it would offer $7.50 per share to acquire Pactera Technology International, which is based in Beijing and listed on the Nasdaq.
Bank Mergers in U.S. Seen Less Likely With Sellers Holding Out (Bloomberg)
“The regulatory risk of getting a deal nixed at the 11th hour is certainly higher than a year ago,” Brian Stephens, head of KPMG’s banking and capital markets practice, said in a phone interview. Leaders of smaller lenders that may sell themselves are saying, “I’ve gotten through the worst of times, and I see better times coming, so why do a deal now?”
Common Gnomes Pop Up at Rarefied Flower Show, to Horror of Many (NYT)
Some exhibitors went proud and loud, putting gnomes in places they would not be missed, like in the middle of the grass. Others seemed to feel that gnomes may be fine for other people, but certainly not any people they know, or want to know. One renowned landscape architect, Robert Myers, hid a gnome in a tree in his display, lost his nerve and took it out again before the judges could see it. “I don’t know where he went,” Mr. Myers said of his erstwhile gnome.